During the course of this week, we will be analysing the changes being made to the Licensing Act 2003 which are due to come into force this Wednesday 25 April.
The Licensing Authority will become a responsible authority for Premises Licence applications. This means that the Licensing Authority itself will for the first time be able to make representations and to apply to review a Premises Licence.
Primary Care Trusts (or Local Health Boards in Wales) will also join the list of responsible authorities and will be able to make representations regarding licensing applications and to apply for reviews. This means that PCTs/Local Health Boards will have to be served with applications for new Premises Licences and variations thereof.
Health has however not been included as a licensing objective so it is expected that PCTs/Local Health Boards are most likely to make representations under the public safety licensing objective.
The term “interested party” has also been removed from the Licensing Act 2003. It will no longer be necessary for anybody to prove that they live or own a business within the vicinity of licensed premises instead they simply have to demonstrate that they are likely to be affected by the application in order to be able to make representations either for or against the application. This means for example that people who say they are put off from coming into town at night by the number of licensed premises may make representations against the grant of any further licenses. Equally, however, it means that customers of licensed premises who do not live in the vicinity of them could also make representations in favour of an application.
It is important to note that any objection must still relate to one of the licensing objectives and must not be frivolous or vexatious.
Local Authorities will also be required to advertise details of applications on their website.
Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Cochrane on 01332 226151/07720 414598.